Ethics Dunce: ThinkProgress Editor Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani

A Milo protest at UCLA followed by a bomb threat that shut down his speaking appearance.  You'd think they'd want him to have a book published so they could burn it...

A Milo protest at UCLA followed by a bomb threat that shut down his speaking appearance. I’d think they’d want him to have a book published, so they could burn it…

Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, an editor at progressive website ThinkProgress, epitomizes a real problem for progressives, and society’s ability to trust them with political power. She, like increasing numbers of others espousing her ideology, believes that citizens expressing opinions she doesn’t agree with should be prevented from doing so.

Her post is titled “We live in a world where white supremacists get lucrative book deals,” and her argument is that the “white supremacist” in question (though he isn’t one), inexplicably popular professional asshole Milo Yiannopoulos, shouldn’t be able to get a book published or be paid for writing it.

Yiannopoulos’s act is that he is forcefully and often obscenely politically incorrect, particularly regarding feminism. If he’s a white supremacist, he’s a very odd one, having a gay partner who is black. Yiannopoulos has been banned from Twitter, which regards his harassment of a black actress ban-worthy but the harassment of white male conservatives just desserts, and he has also sparked several episodes on campus last year where his scheduled speeches were cancelled by cowardly college administrators after students complained that the threat of his likely comments being made to others caused them to feel “unsafe.”

He got a book deal because he is famous in some circles, a culture war combatant, and a sometimes amusingly inflammatory writer. He got a book deal because enough people are likely to buy his book that his publisher expects to make money. He got a book deal because enough people in a free country want to read what he has to say. Varkiani believes this is scandalous, and if she and her fellow censors had their way, he wouldn’t be able to get paid to speak or write.

Yiannopoulos is repulsive and a blight on civil discourse. That doesn’t remove his free speech rights, and if forced at lance point to choose between Milo and Varkiani in the power elite, I’d choose the guy who would let me publish my book explaining why we should hate HIM every time.

To the site’s readers’ credit, almost every comment on the article is negative, for all the right reasons. Typical is this one:

The last time I checked the Constitution of the United States, political speech is protected speech, even if you don’t agree with it. And if you don’t agree with it, the correction is more and better speech and arguments, not less. Make a better argument and stop this sophomoric whining.

On the other hand, there are more “likes” on the post than negative comments. Presumably these are the people who believe that what they decide is “hate speech” isn’t protected by the First Amendment.

You know.

Morons.

Or college students…It’s increasingly difficult to distinguish between the two.

98 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Citizenship, Education, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights

98 responses to “Ethics Dunce: ThinkProgress Editor Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani

  1. wyogranny

    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

  2. deery

    Isn’t Varkiani simply countering speech with more speech, as recommended? She isn’t calling for the government to ban or imprison Yiannopoulos. She is calling for people, editors, and readers to shun him, based on his conduct. They can listen to her reasoning, and either agree and go with it, or not. He has the right to speak. He does not have the right to an audience.

    As for the laughable contention that one cannot be a white supremacist because one has a black lover, please tell that to the many, many slave masters and their black concubine victims, including Thomas Jefferson. It seems obvious that Yiannopoulos, for his part, has a serious objectification fetish for black males. But that can be used as just as easily as an indication of racism as against it.

    Yiannopoulos, wearing a pearl bracelet, a huge diamond in his ear, and a necklace with a gold dog tag, nods in agreement. His nods shake his blond extensions. He likes to brag that he’s a bottom for tall black men and that he used to hold a paint sample called Pharoahs Gold 5 to men at clubs to see if they were dark enough to have sex with. He wants to self-publish a Kindle e-book so he can go on television shows with the chyron “Author of Satisfying the Black Man Sexually,” though he’d need to alter the title slightly, because the book Satisfying the Black Man Sexually is already on his shelf. “That’s why I don’t like Planned Parenthood. They kill all those black babies. In 20 years, they could be my harem,” he says. He sees no room for white gay men in liberal parties anymore, because all white men, he says, are treated as enemies of multiculturalism. Plus, he says, being a gay Republican reinstates the illicitness that homosexuality has lost.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-america-divided/milo-yiannopoulos/

    • Captain Obvious

      Were I to live to be 100 I would not have time to detail all the ways you are apparently ignorant of the concept of Free Speech, but I will give the exceedingly broad overview…

      Calling for someone to be shunned and their livelihood ruined because you don’t agree with what they have to say isn’t “more speech.” “More Speech” would be writing about how he is wrong, and refuting his (I’m assuming) incoherent and idiotic points.

      That you confuse the two should surprise me, but it doesn’t. I’ve long since learned that when it comes to speech, the Left is even more ignorant than the Right.

      And buddy, that takes some doing.

    • If the author is callin for a boycott, then yes that is an attempt to suppress free speech.

      It may not be governmental, but a community banding together for any effort becomes a type of political action, whether or not it is through the official political construct.

      So yes, this type of boycott would be tantamount to speech suppression.

      • deery

        If the author is callin for a boycott, then yes that is an attempt to suppress free speech.

        Calling for the government to boycott would be a suppression of free speech. Calling for people to boycott is not, it is also a free speech expression. Like I said, you can say whatever you want, but you aren’t entitled to an audience for it.

        I know that Jack thinks that boycotts are inherently unethical, but I disagree with him on this (one of many areas). If I refuse to buy his book? ,Is that unethical? What if talk about how no one should buy his book, and some people agree with my speech, and also won’t buy his book as well? Why is one anymore ethical than the other? As long as one is not coerced into boycotting something, I think it is perfectly ethical.

        • https://ethicsalarms.com/2015/05/26/the-conundrum-of-the-tolerant-excessively-honest-jeweler-and-the-gay-couples-rings/#comment-331540

          Edifying dialogue between Jack, Humble and myself.

          Boycotts are essentially a type of community based semi-political speech suppression.

          • deery

            I think a person is allowed to express their disapproval of something. Nor should they be forced to frequent products or businesses they disapprove of. Making other people aware that a product or business might be something they disapprove of is not unethical. Having other people then decide that they will not frequent that product or business is not unethical either. To me it seems like a suppression of free speech and conduct to suggest otherwise. It is just what happens during the normal clash of speech.” The other person can always talk about why they should not be boycotted, or why their opposition should be boycotted instead, of course.

            But for all the moaning about “political correctness”, the attitude has always seemed to me like, “I should be able to say whatever I want, no consequences, and you should have to suck it up. Otherwise you are being an overly sensitive SJW, and a meanie. First Amendment ftw! Wah!” Which is not exactly how that works. Say what you want. Be prepared for the blowback. People have the first part down pat. The second part…not so much.

            • Given that your first 4 sentences indicate you didn’t read think then I don’t think I’m going to bother with this any more.

              You aren’t going to actually think about the ethics of boycotts, you are just going to assume they are peachy since we’ve always had them.

              Lemme know when you actually read the in depth discussion then I will pick back up.

              • Didn’t read “the link”

                NOT didn’t read “think”

              • joed68

                Couldn’t be said that there are some important differences between boycotting a company because of its products, policies, or treatment of its employees, and boycotting an author and his books because of their content and his politics?

      • Wait. What boycott, or protest, would NOT be tantamount to free speech then? That seems a bit of a stretch. So you’re saying that people do not have the free speech ability to call for a boycott then?

        (Note: I don’t think there should be a boycott, but I’m not seeing how this is free speech infringement, unless the government is calling for it).

        • Calling for a boycott IS speech, but it also impugns someone else’s ability to speak. These things aren’t mutually exclusive.

          • Yep. A very key point to make.

          • Deery

            No, they can still speak. They may not have an audience, but there is no right to that.

            • Except that the destruction of the audience comes about via unethical boycott.

              Do some thought on this. Quit thinking “oh we’ve always had boycotts so they’re ok”.

              They aren’t.

              I used to think they were also.

              • Deery

                Yes, but that presupposes that this is an “unethical boycott.”

                If a group of people all decide not to provide him with an audience, that’s not unethical. Another group could just as easily provide him with the platform that he seeks. That’s how the “marketplace of ideas ” works. If he ends up with no audience at all, then his ideas and/or presentation were probably trash to begin with.

                • Sigh.

                  There isn’t even pressure on consumers not to buy HIS book, but for consumers to not buy ANY BOOKS from Simon and Schuster for reviewers to stiff ANY BOOKS from Simon and Schuster.

                  If his ideas are trash, then people WON’T read them, and his ideas *ON THEIR OWN MERITS* will lose his audience.

                  But no, the totalitarian Left has to crush speech in order to claim it is “denying him an audience”.

                  What dishonest drivel.

                  For the life of me I don’t know how corrupt shills like you and Chris can even look at yourselves in the mirror every morning.

                  • I’d say a boycott is roughly equivalent to a book burning (if we assume an alternate reality where it is hard to find digital copies of books). The boycott, like book burning, seeks to destroy ideas (after all, an idea without an audience eventually just dies) by making it so they cannot/will not be heard. To put it in Deery’s terms, a book burning just deprives the speaker of an audience.

                    • Well done.

                      I await deery’s response.

                    • deery

                      A book burning, of your own property, is not against the law, and would be an exercise of free speech. If anything, assuming you bought a legal copy of the book, it does nothing except to contribute to air pollution and enrich the author with whom you presumably disagree with. If you are burning someone else’s book without permission, that is obviously wrong, and illegal both. If the government is doing it, that would be a 1st Amendment violation.

                      So basically you stand for the proposition that it is ok to suppress some people’s exercise of free speech (e.g.. boycotts, book burnings, etc) so that others, perfectly capable of countering this speech, will not have to deal with the fall out from the results of their original speech? Seems legit and logical.

                    • Whose speech did I say should be suppressed? I don’t think anyone has suggested people calling for boycotts should be forcibly stopped from doing so, the issue is whether it is unethical to do so.

                      The concept of book burning is not to buy your own copy of a book and to burn it, it is to gather all the books containing certain ideas and burning them, so as to effectively deprive the world of the ideas contained therein. A boycott seeks to accomplish the same goal.

                      If a single person, recognizing that someone’s ideas are wrong/bad/etc, decides not to pay for a person’s speech/book/whatever, that is fine. The way to encourage people to refuse to buy such speech is to speak about why the ideas are wrong/bad/etc and let people decide what to do with that information. Otherwise you are just acting to coerce a) your audience, by suggesting they can only be virtuous ignoring the ideas; and b) the author, by trying to forcibly remove his ideas from the marketplace.

                    • deery

                      The concept of book burning is not to buy your own copy of a book and to burn it, it is to gather all the books containing certain ideas and burning them, so as to effectively deprive the world of the ideas contained therein. A boycott seeks to accomplish the same goal.

                      A book burning says nothing more by itself than, “I really hate this book.” Now depending on the execution of a particular book burning, it can be unethical, or not, but you can also say that for almost anything. While I know that there is an evil cultural connotation of book burnings, I don’t think the concept of a book burning, or a boycott for that matter is unethical by itself.

                      If the government is behind the book burnings, like I said above, you run into 1st Amendment issues. If it is private individuals, have at it, as long as no one is being forcibly being deprived of property. Any publisher worth their salt is going to keep cranking out books for people to buy and burn, if they are smart that is. The author’s message will still get out, with help from the book burners, even. Plus he gets rich at the same time. Which is why book burning is stupid, but not really unethical.

                      A boycott is smarter. It simply says, “we, as a group, have decided not to purchase your book.” The publisher can make the business decision to go ahead and publish, or not, forewarned with that knowledge. The author can also feel free to counter, addressing that groups concerns, mocking them, or whatever he might choose to do to convince his allies to rally to his side, and sway the publisher there might be some profit in publishing his book. The clash of ideas and speech, played out through capitalistic principles. What’s the problem?

            • Right… But that’s not all a boycott can be. If because of this kerfuffle, Simon and Shuster pulled Milo’s book from print, the effect of the boycott would be to infringe on Milo’s speech. And be honest… That’s the goal of boycotts like this. It’s usually not some variation of “You shouldn’t listen to this” it’s “This shouldn’t be allowed to happen.”

              And it’s funny… Like the topics or not, there’s no way to get around the fact that by pointedly depriving yourself from the opposing point of view, you are languishing in this… self imposed ignorance. Your liberal forefathers are spinning in their graves.

    • joed68

      “please tell that to the many, many slave masters and their black concubine victims, including Thomas Jefferson. ”

      So, you think that Milo has this poor guy in chains in his basement? Hells bells! Somebody needs to call the cops!

  3. “As for the laughable contention that one cannot be a white supremacist because one has a black lover, please tell that to the many, many slave masters and their black concubine victims, including Thomas Jefferson.”

    Jump ball.

    Who wants to explain to deery how utterly flawed this comparison is?

    • Not just utterly flawed. But how embarrassingly pathetic this jab is also.

    • Dalia

      It’s a flawed comparison, but the point that Milo fetishes black men, and that wanting to have sex with people of another race does not mean you’re not a supremacist, is valid.

      • That’s a good observation. But there really isn’t anything in Milo’s work that marks him as a white supremicist. It’s the “he worked for Breitbart, and Breitbart is followed by some white supremecists, so he must not object to them, so he must be one, and besides, all those misogynists, racists and other bigots hang out, so there’s no difference, really” argument.

  4. To be fair, unless the author edited the rant, I don’t see an explicit call for a boycott or censorship…

  5. Spartan

    I think Christopher Hitchens said it best (referring to Paine, Milton, and John Stuart Mill):

    “In which it is variously said — I’ll be very daring and summarize all three of these great gentlemen of the great tradition of, especially, English liberty, in one go. What they say is, it’s not just the right of the person who speaks to be heard, it is the right of everyone in the audience to listen and to hear. And every time you silence somebody, you make yourself a prisoner of your own action, because you deny yourself the right to hear something.”

  6. Wayne

    Why doesn’t she just follow the example of the nazis at Nuremberg and organize a book burning festival at UCLA with progressive students and faculty participating. I’m sure some tv stations would video tape the event for posterity.

  7. Milo… Is simultaneously brilliant and frustrating. He’s smart, sharp, and charismatic… And so it’s especially frustrating that he feels he needs to build his brand with bombastic and inflammatory comments. The fact that it worked for him, I think, says more about the people consuming media than it does about him… But I digress.

    Here’s Good Milo:

    • Yeah, but I think he does what he does purely because he knows it riles the Left.

      No insane left wing spin ups over nothing, you get non inflammatory Milo.

      • Chris

        Are there any right-wing bigots whose bigotry can’t be blamed on the left?

        • I’d say the group you’re looking at are the actual bigots. People like the KKK or Westboro. The people that have been ostracized over time because conservatism is much more willing to distance itself from the crazies than progressivism is.

          I mean, Do you REALLY think Milo is a bigot? Even the things he’s said that seem bigoted, can you not hear the sarcasm and humor in them? He does it to pis you off. And it works. And then you get more pissed off. It’s like a sneaky hate spiral that isn’t trying too hard to be sneaky.

          • Chris

            Of course I think Milo is a bigot. “He only says bigoted things for attention” is hardly a defense; if someone makes a career out of saying bigoted things for attention, then they clearly believe their need for attention is more important than the people hurt by the spread of bigotry.

            When Milo made the poll “Which would you rather your child have: Islam or cancer?” I believe he was being deliberately inflammatory, but no one who didn’t have some serious anti-Muslim bigotry would even think to make the comparison. Does he really believe that having a child with cancer would be worse than having a Muslim child? I don’t know, because I’m not a mind-reader. I don’t care about his motives. I’ve watched his fans attempt serious defenses of this poll as a legitimate comparison, and argue–in all seriousness–that Islam was worse than cancer. I don’t see how defining the term bigotry down so that someone who deliberately spreads bigotry among their followers shouldn’t be called a bigot is at all useful.

            • “When Milo made the poll “Which would you rather your child have: Islam or cancer?””

              It was feminism or cancer, and cancer won.

              • I mean…. Really. Cancer HAS to be easier to deal with.

              • Chris

                No, he’s done both.

                • Y’know… Even if you were right, I still think cancer might be easier to deal with.

                  But you aren’t. I challenge you to cite the poll, or even someone bitching about the poll… Because even if it was a Twitter Poll from before he was banned, you KNOW someone gonna bitch about Milo saying something inflammatory. It’s what ya’ll do. But this is great. Perfect in fact, you’re bitching bout something Milo hasn’t even done… Which perfectly illustrates why I feel justified in my perpetual skepticism… Ya’ll just make things up and pretend you’re right.

                  I’ll be here, waiting for your concession.

                  • Chris

                    You know, one of these days you’ll learn to stop being such an overly confident dickbag.

                    • When did twitter reinstate his account? Last I read he was banned about halfway through the year.

                      Interesting.

                    • Chris

                      His account has not been reinstated; the screenshot of Milo’s poll is from when his account was active. There’s no date on it because the screenshot was taken that day.

                    • Be a doll and help us find some supporting info on this. Seems the only proof of this poll is a cropped image by this imraan fellow.

                    • I’d believe THAT he did it. I mean….. It wouldn’t even make the top 5 in 2016. It’s still mind boggling to me that this guy is the only one to grab a screen of this… But even with refined terms, I can’t find other people using it. Does that make this a holographic rare pepe? Perhaps.

                      I’m going to do all kinds of backpedaling here, and apologize for saying Chris made this up…. He obviously didn’t. At worst, he was taken in by a fake… but aside from the relatively low dissemination of someone the outrage brigade loves to hate… I have no reason to think it’s a fake. I’ll take the L.

                    • Chris

                      Thanks, Humble.

                      It’s possible that it’s fake, but given Milo’s other statements about Islam I see no reason to believe it is. He’s said plenty of other bigoted stuff, which was my initial point, so I’m not sure why someone would make this up.

            • “if someone makes a career out of saying bigoted things for attention, then they clearly believe their need for attention is more important than the people hurt by the spread of bigotry.”

              Ok, but simply saying words does not make one a bigot any more that I, a black man, calling another black man the “N” makes me a racist (I believe it is a racist act, regardless of the speakers race, but don’t necessarily believe that it belies racist intentions, for the record). It makes him hurtful and immature, but you cannot assume bigotry SIMPLY by the words he says, at least in this context. Even knowing that he has millions of followers, some of whole mindlessly believe that acting bigoted is A-Ok b/c he talks like a bigot, does not make him a bigot. An asshole, yes, but not a bigot.

              “but no one who didn’t have some serious anti-Muslim bigotry would even think to make the comparison.”

              You can’t really believe that, do you? Anecdotal, I know, but I’ve had some seriously messed up thoughts at times…like, in my angriest moments, “what I wouldn’t give to be allowed to run over those idiots who are in slowly strolling through the crosswalk, against their light, while I have the green”. Of course I would never do it, and not only b/c it’s against the law…but, regardless, does that mean I have some serious homicidal tendancies?

              “I don’t care about his motives”

              Why not? Are you saying that context doesn’t matter? If I said it, then I’m equally anti-Muslim? If a Muslim said it to a friend for laughs (as I’ve joked about Christianity with friends, in socially inappropriate ways, at times), what then?

              • deery

                “if someone makes a career out of saying bigoted things for attention, then they clearly believe their need for attention is more important than the people hurt by the spread of bigotry.”

                Ok, but simply saying words does not make one a bigot any more that I, a black man, calling another black man the “N” makes me a racist (I believe it is a racist act, regardless of the speakers race, but don’t necessarily believe that it belies racist intentions, for the record). It makes him hurtful and immature, but you cannot assume bigotry SIMPLY by the words he says, at least in this context.

                I think if you are deliberately aiming to profit off of racism, then yes, you are a racist, no matter “what’s in your heart.” Should we care that many successful black people were lynched because they were successful, and the legal system allowed white people to get away with, and instead do an examination of what was really “in their heart”? It doesn’t matter. Using the levers of racism and bigotry to rile up even more bigotry and racism is, in itself, a racist or bigoted act. The fact is, we will never know what is truly in someone’s heart, ever. We can however, look a someone’s words and actions and come to a reasonable conclusion. No parsing of hearts necessary.

                • It doesn’t matter if Milo’s a bigot. Bigotry in speech is legal and one’s right. Let’s stipulate he’s a bigot. Being a bigot doesn’t mean that you don’t have other useful and illuminating views to exchange, doesn’t mean you can’t write a good book, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to publish it if someone thinks it will make money. I don’t believe Ann Coulter really believes half what she says—so what? Jamelle Bouie is an anti-white bigot, but its his living at Slate: would I be shocked to find he’s not always writing what he thinks? No. So what? 1) He’s accountable and 2) he can publish as many idiotic books as people are willing to buy and read. More fodder for Ethics Alarms. More commerce. More debate. Good.

                  • deery

                    It doesn’t matter if Milo’s a bigot.
                    Of course it does.

                    Bigotry in speech is legal and one’s right.
                    Agreed.

                    Let’s stipulate he’s a bigot. Being a bigot doesn’t mean that you don’t have other useful and illuminating views to exchange, doesn’t mean you can’t write a good book, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to publish it if someone thinks it will make money.

                    Yes, you might have just great ideas if you are a bigot or racist. And if it was the government shutting you down, that would be an outrage. But it is also everyone’s right not to subject themselves to bigoted or racist speech against them or others. It is an individual right, and if other’, like-minded people get together to exercise this right collectively, how is that unethical?

                    The publisher can take these people’s thoughts into account, and not publish him, or they can ignore their attempts at persuasion, and publish him. If that publisher turns him down, he can go to another one where he might find a better fit. But he has no intrinsic right to be paid and/or published. He can tap out his screeds on the internet like the rest of us, or go and print out his manifestos to hawk on street corners. Speak all you want. But no one has to listen.

                    • What do you think you are saying? You lose all credibility with statements like that. The First Amendment embodies an ethical and cultural value, which is why the government is forbidden from censoring speech.But censoring speech by intimidation, boycotts, threats or commercial restrictions are equally dangerous, equally wrong, and equally obnoxious to democracy. Who te hell are you, or anyone, to pronounce any opinion or speech so intrinsically unacceptable that the speaker “has no right to be published” if there is an audience, a market, and a product? No one has to listen, we have a right to have the opportunity to listen. This is a fatal illness infecting the left: if it can’t prevail in the marketplace of ideas, it feels that it should be able to rig the market. Disgusting. I’ll take a library of Milo’s bile over the self-selected censors you are defending.

                    • Oh—it doesn’t matter if Milo’s a bigot in the sense that it doesn’t alter his rights, his opportunity to find an audience, the standard he should be held to or the degree to which every American should be willing to defend his freedom of expression. A jackass law professor recently argued that critics of climate change shouldn’t be allowed to use Twitter. That’s worse than anything Milo has ever said. I don’t care if a party, a movement or a philosophy is the potential savior of humanity, if that’s how it operates, it needs to be fought until the last dog dies.

                    • deery

                      What do you think you are saying? You lose all credibility with statements like that. The First Amendment embodies an ethical and cultural value, which is why the government is forbidden from censoring speech. But censoring speech by intimidation, boycotts, threats or commercial restrictions are equally dangerous, equally wrong, and equally obnoxious to democracy. Who the hell are you, or anyone, to pronounce any opinion or speech so intrinsically unacceptable that the speaker “has no right to be published” if there is an audience, a market, and a product?

                      I think threats and intimidation are wrong. Boycotts, in and of themselves, are not wrong. It is simply a group of people who have expressed their intent not to frequent a product or business. If one person expressing their intent not to frequent a product or business is not wrong, why would a group of people expressing the same intent be wrong?

                      As far as “no one having the right to published”, it’s true. No one has the right to be published, whether I agree with what they are saying or not. If there is an audience, it will be published. If the publisher makes the calculation that the loss of goodwill and/or audience is not enough to counter whatever audience the author manages to conjure up, so be it. That’s the vaunted marketplace of ideas.

                    • A jackass law professor recently argued that critics of climate change shouldn’t be allowed to use Twitter.

                      When did this happen?

                    • Cal State University in Sacramento Prof. Joseph A. Palermo believes that President-elect Donald Trump’s positions on the “science of climate change” should disqualify him from enjoying the “science of the internet.”

                      “I’ve always believed that people who dismiss science in one area shouldn’t be able to benefit from science in others,” he wrote for the Huffington Post on Dec. 27.

                      Accordingly, Palermo said that President Trump shouldn’t be able to use “the science of global positioning” for drones or “the science of nuclear power” for weapons. Presumably he believes Trump also shouldn’t be able to use a cell phone or electric toothbrush, either.

                      My mistake—not a law professor, just a professor.

                    • I wonder if Palermo can actually defend the science.

                  • Joshua

                    Deery, in all honesty you are completely and utterly in the wrong. You do not understand what you are saying.

                    Let’s say George Takei wrote an autobiography about his struggles as a gay man in America and his time spent in internment camps. He found a company which would publish his book. Fervent christians found out and called for a boycott. Suddenly there is no more book deal or no one would buy it. People were afraid to anger the fervent, frothing christians. They successfully a voice. Ethical?

                    Barack Obama decided to speak at a university in Utah. People in Utah didn’t like it and boycotted the event. It worked. Cancelled for fear of violence. Ethical?

                    i hope you learn the difference Deery. Your thoughts on boycotts are infantile and incompressive. Just because it works in your favor and you find the outcome just doesn’t mean it isn’t unethical or illegal. Any university which receives funding by government and shuts down a speech from Milo is committing a crime. A very egregious crime.

                    I would say the same about any political speaker. Or just any speaker.

                    • deery

                      I find your logic lacking, not to mention you are conflating several things in order to try to make your case.

                      Let’s say George Takei wrote an autobiography about his struggles as a gay man in America and his time spent in internment camps. He found a company which would publish his book. Fervent Christians found out and called for a boycott. Suddenly there is no more book deal or no one would buy it. People were afraid to anger the fervent, frothing Christians. They successfully a voice. Ethical?

                      The Christians calling for a boycott is fine. The publishing house, if it made the calculation that the loss of profit and/or goodwill was not worth it, could ethically not publish the book (they aren’t charities). There is presumably more publishing houses out there which might make different calculations. He could also self-publish, an absurdly easy thing to do these days. If no one wants to read the book however, that would be on Takei. So yes, ethical.

                      Barack Obama decided to speak at a university in Utah. People in Utah didn’t like it and boycotted the event. It worked. Cancelled for fear of violence. Ethical?

                      People in Utah can boycott an event. They have no obligation to show up to an Obama speech if they don’t want to. However, you seem to be (deliberately?) conflating threats of violence with a boycott. Those are two different things. Threatening violence would be unethical ( as I’ve said several times already). Refusing to attend an event (i.e. a boycott) because you disagree with the speaker is not unethical.

                      I hope you learn the difference Joshua.

                    • At least you are colossally wrong with consistency.

                    • joed68

                      Tex, has anyone ever told you that you have a truly awesome sense of humor? Such a gift! I look forward to all your posts, because man, you really get in some zingers. You, jack, and a few others have me rolling!

                • It doesn’t matter if Milo’s a bigot. Bigotry in speech is legal and one’s right. Let’s stipulate he’s a bigot. Being a bigot doesn’t mean that you don’t have other useful and illuminating views to exchange, doesn’t mean you can’t write a good book, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to publish it if someone thinks it will make money. I don’t believe Ann Coulter really believes half what she says—so what? Jamelle Bouie is an anti-white bigot, but its his living at Slate: would I be shocked to find he’s not always writing what he thinks? No. So what? 1) He’s accountable and 2) he can publish as many idiotic books as people are willing to buy and read. More fodder for Ethics Alarms. More commerce. More debate. Good.

                  • Chris

                    “Jamelle Bouie is an anti-white bigot”

                    How do you know that? Maybe Bouie just says bigoted things for attention. Just because Bouie says bigoted things doesn’t make him (her?) a bigot!

                    You know how I just said that there are a lot of people who want to redefine the term “bigotry” out of existence, so that almost no one can be called bigoted? Interesting how this doesn’t seem to apply to accusations of anti-white bigotry. Again: you might want to think about why that is.

                    • Here’s the whole quote you just distorted: Jamelle Bouie is an anti-white bigot, but its his living at Slate: would I be shocked to find he’s not always writing what he thinks? No.

                      In other words, I said that I really don’t know whether or how much a bigot he is, and you retort as if the second part of the statement doesn’t exist? Who are you fooling with a tactic like that? You just make yourself look foolish, dishonest and sloppy. It undermines your credibility. No, I don’t know if Jamelle Bouie really believes the crap he writes, or Jamelle Bouie, or you, for that matter.And I was quite clear about it. So what? Ethics is based on what ones does, not hidden thoughts and motives.

                    • Chris

                      I distorted nothing, and you’re making my point for me:

                      No, I don’t know if Jamelle Bouie really believes the crap he writes, or Jamelle Bouie, or you, for that matter.And I was quite clear about it. So what? Ethics is based on what ones does, not hidden thoughts and motives.

                      I agree with this, which is why I said Milo Yiannopoulous is a bigot, and the “But we don’t know what’s in his heart!” argument is bullshit. If you’ve no problem calling Jamelle Bouie an anti-white bigot due to what he says and does, then you should have no problem calling Milo a bigot for what he says and does.

                    • Are you writing this to me? I didn’t make the “we don’t know what’s in his heart argument.” I don’t care what’s in his heart. If he’s pretending to be a bigot, I might argue that’s worse. It’s dishonest and destructive.

                    • Jack, I honestly think Chris is confusing yours and my arguments, since his earlier snark “How do you know that? Maybe Bouie just says bigoted things for attention. Just because Bouie says bigoted things doesn’t make him (her?) a bigot!”, written in reply to you, seems more like a natural rebuttal for my earlier “simply saying words does not make one a bigot any more that I, a black man, calling another black man the “N” makes me a racist …you cannot assume bigotry SIMPLY by the words he says, at least in this context.” statement.

                      It’s an easy mistake, probably since we look so much alike….

                    • Chris

                      My mistake–I did conflate the two arguments. Sorry.

                    • joed68

                      Maybe it’s just a natural reaction to all the attempts at sterilizing life and weaponizing too many words.

              • Chris

                I love this. “You can’t go around calling people bigots just because they say bigoted things all the time!” Yes, you can, and yes, we should. Milo chooses to put forth a bigoted persona, and being called a bigot is a rational and fair consequence of that. “Hm, but what if he only says bigoted stuff because-“–No. “But what if he–” I don’t care. “You can’t just assume intent–” See below for all the shits I give.

                It seems like there are a LOT of people who are VERY invested in redefining the word bigotry out of existence. You need to think about why that is.

                • “Milo chooses to put forth a bigoted persona, and being called a bigot is a rational and fair consequence of that.”

                  Oh, ok…so, since what people wear is, at least in part, a statement of how that person chooses to be viewed by the world, you’re cool with me referring to women who dress too provocatively as “dressing slutty”, right? I mean, they’re putting forth a slutty exterior to the world, dressing as a prostitute typically does, so it would be a rational and fair consequence, no?

                  And you want to talk about redefining terms, while in the same breath, defending Bouie? How about his re-defining of “racism”: “No, racism is better understood as white supremacy—anything that furthers a broad hierarchy of racist inequity, where whites possess the greatest share of power, respect, and resources, and blacks the least.” So, racism cannot ever, by this definition, be perpetrated by a black to a white? Or any non-white ethnicity to wards another non-white? Might wanna let Merriam-Webster know…

                  Source: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/05/millennials_racism_and_mtv_poll_young_people_are_confused_about_bias_prejudice.html

                  I honesty do. not. care. how many shits you give. Viewing the world in such blanket terms (“Yes, you can, and yes, we should”), assuming that behavior that you observe ALWAYS defines a person, regardless of context, is short sighted. I can EASILY imagine scenarios where simply speaking words/acting in a behavior, that YOU would define as bigoted, doesn’t not make the speaker a bigot, completely because of the context
                  (ex: youtu.be/TJ3JQgGDHRU) By your strict definition, Keifer Sutherland is a bigot.

                  And, how did anything I wrote imply that I want to redefine bigotry out of existence? I want words to actually matter, and the speaker to put thought into what they intend to convey, and be honest about why they are doing so, rather than flinging labels around. What I said “simply saying words does not make one a bigot any more that I, a black man, calling another black man the “N-word” makes me a racist”, it’s pretty damn clear that nothing in that statement is attempting to redefine “bigotry” out of existence (because, you know, of the qualifier “simply”), but rather, narrow down it’s definition. I’m confident you understood that when I wrote it, which is why your accusation that I’m redefining it is perplexing, to say the least.

                  • : “No, racism is better understood as white supremacy—anything that furthers a broad hierarchy of racist inequity, where whites possess the greatest share of power, respect, and resources, and blacks the least.”

                    This also implies that only government is racist, because while any individual can yell racist slurs, it takes a government to set up a broad heirarchy of racist inequity.

                    • Chris

                      No, it says “anything that furthers” that hierarchy. Racist slurs can further that hierarchy.

                      I disagree with definitions of racism that posit only whites can be racist.

                  • Chris

                    Terrible comparison; “slutty” is a meaningless term, designed for no other purpose than shaming women. I know many conservatives see the term “bigotry” as similarly meaningless, but that’s just not true; it describes a real thing in the world, and the world is made better, not worse, by using the term “bigotry” to described bigots and bigoted behavior. There is no logical defense of “slutty.”

                    But yes, I am comfortable calling someone who writes like a bigot and talks like a bigot a bigot. Why aren’t you?

                    I didn’t defend Bouie; I didn’t even know who that was. I pointed out the double standard wherein conservatives feel very comfortable calling anti-white bigotry “bigotry,” while they bend over backwards to deny or minimize bigotry against minorities, like what Milo does.

                    • 1) Just because you see it as meaningless, and only serving to shame women, does not make it so. You can argue with the line of reasoning, but it has been proven time and again that the #1 predictor of a lack of financial and educational success for children, is growing up in a single parent household. The easiest was to ensure that a child grows up in a single parent household is to have a child out of wedlock. The easiest way for that to happen, is for two people to have sex outside of a marriage commitment. People who sleep around (although, it has it’s “benefits”) are engaging in behavior that has a higher likelihood of resulting in a child being born out of wedlock, than those who don’t, not to mention STDs. So, engaging in slutty behavior (and for the record, it’s slutty, as well as incredibly shameful, and deserves to be called out, for men to engage in this behavior as well) are increasing their risk of contracting STDs and spawning children who would, presumably, be born out of wedlock. To explain this to a young person, as a cautionary tale, is neither intending to shame women, nor illogical, if that is how you choose to convey the very real dangers of sleeping around to someone.

                      https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/02/25/report-marks-growing-educational-disadvantage-children-single-parent-families
                      http://marripedia.org/effects_of_family_structure_on_income

                      2) Because context matters. Thats my only point. Yes, the likelihood that someone speaking in a bigoted way is a bigot is pretty high. But, I generally avoid speaking in absolutes until all (or most) evidence in a particular situation is considered, and the context of individual situations actually does matter. Contrary to what you seem to believe, Im not just an ignorant conservative, who’s hesitant to call out bigots, or trying to redefine words. I’m hesitant to come to knee-jerk conclusions. Nothing more, nothing less.

                      3) I misunderstood your “How do you know that? Maybe Bouie just says bigoted things for attention. Just because Bouie says bigoted things doesn’t make him (her?) a bigot!”, thinking that it was a (tepid) defense of Bouie, rather than an attempt to point out a double standard; though, your blanket “conservatives feel very comfortable calling anti-white bigotry “bigotry,” while they bend over backwards to deny or minimize bigotry against minorities” is grossly overstated.

                    • “So, engaging in *reckless* slutty behavior…”

                      Lest I be accused of being a prude.

                    • Chris

                      Are you under the impression that people are only calling Milo a bigot because of a few out of context statements? He is a bigot *because* of the context of him making a career out of saying bigoted things. I’m aware of the “context.”

            • joed68

              How is the “Islam or cancer” dilemma bigotry? That’s a question that would keep me up at night. I love my children.

          • Phlinn

            Point of order: The Westboro baptist preacher is a lifelong Democrat. He’s apparently left wing despite being anti-gay.

            • *shrug* Party registration is a foreign concept to me…. It’s a weird quirk of your system used only as a got’cha when someone does something embarrassing and political. I recognize that the VAST…. VAST majority of Christian Religious Fundamentalism in America identifies with conservative values. Regardless… The result is the same. A toxic ideology was ostracized into relative obscurity.

        • Yeah, Humble schools you on it, so I’ll let his response stand un-edited.

        • Huh?

          Not what TexAg said. He simply observed Milo’s SOP. Milo is an ass, and acts like he does to get attention. Liberals control MOST of the media channels, and thus Milo gets airtime when they are upset with him.

          Chris, your anger is causing you to see slights where they do not exist.

  8. Pennagain

    . . . the illicitness that homosexuality has lost.

    Not the first time Yiannopoulos has “given himself away”. (psst! that’s his very best bait!) It’s just another button to push (the more buttons, the more likely some of them will be greeted with approval), and this one is an especially good sharp buzz in the butt for coeds who pop out of their safe-spaces only to voice their own LOOK AT MEEEs because they can’t even think about (shhh …) the truly wide range of human sexuality. He couldn’t get away with it in the schoolyard but I’ll bet (1) he discovered the fun and the attention of being subversive way back then; (2) he deplores the mundanities of same-sex marriage and every-day gay politics today as much as any Fundamentalist; and (3) he doesn’t have much of a future.

    I don’t wish a plague on both their houses, just a improvement on Professor Cone’s invention.

  9. wyogranny

    Lenny Bruce comes to mind. When I listen to progressives reason I get the strangest feeling of deja vu in bizarro world. Or maybe any social attitude that goes mainstream automatically becomes dogma which must not be challenged.

  10. Did Varkiani actually visit white nationalist web sites like Stormfront or InfoStormer.com to actually get white natioanalists’ opinions on Milo Yiannopoulos?

    • Joe Fowler

      Good question, and point. I’ll take action at 20-1 AGAINST on that all day long. What are the chances of any actual research being done by a progressive journalist?(Sorry for the redundancy!) Exhibit A: 2016 Election Polling and Coverage.

  11. zoebrain

    I agree with the basic thesis of your article, Jack.

    I also think that Simon & Schuster should be made aware of the damaging consequences to their brand should they publish this thing.

    Then they can make a commercial decision on whether to proceed or not, and no-one has the right to gainsay their decision, whatever it might be. I think it likely to be very successful financially in the short term, while being disastrous for their sales in the medium term.

    Pointing this out, and calling for them not to publish is freedom of speech, just as Mr Y’s attempting to publish is.

    Disclaimer: given Mr Y’s frequent calls .for those like me to be compulsorily institutionalised for our own good, I can’t be objective here. So please take that lack of objectivity into account in assessing my views. The problem with bias is that those who are biased are often unaware of that, so that possibility has to be considered regarding my views.

    • THIS!

      “I also think that Simon & Schuster should be made aware of the damaging consequences to their brand should they publish this thing.

      Then they can make a commercial decision on whether to proceed or not, and no-one has the right to gainsay their decision, whatever it might be.

      Sounds markedly like naked capitalism, with market forces and all.

      • Captain Obvious

        So, it sounds like the heckler’s veto.

        Invariably, it is a small, small segment of the population that becomes shrill over these sorts of things – I’ve yet to see an SJW boycott or protest that did anything to damage a brand. Hell, in most cases they ended up causing a boost in sales.If more companies would say “Don’t care, go screw” to people like those shrieking over Milo’s book deal, the world would be a better place.

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